Tamalpais High School
|Tamalpais High School|
|700 Miller Avenue
Mill Valley, California, 94941
|School type||Public, comprehensive high school|
|School district||Tamalpais Union High School District|
|Oversight||Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Accrediting Commission for Schools|
|Principal||Julie A. Synyard|
|Assistant Principals||Brian Lynch, Wendy Stratton|
|Number of students||1,321 (2014-2015) |
|Area||Southern Marin County|
|Color(s)||‹See Tfm› ‹See Tfm› ‹See Tfm› Red, Royal Blue & White|
|Mascot||Red Tailed Hawk|
|Communities served||Mill Valley, Sausalito, Marin City, Strawberry, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Muir Beach, Bolinas and Stinson Beach.|
|Feeder schools||Mill Valley School District
Sausalito Marin City School District
Bolinas-Stinson Union School District
Tamalpais High School (often abbreviated as Tam) is a public secondary school located in Mill Valley, California. It is named after nearby Mount Tamalpais, which rises more than 2,500 feet (760 m) above Mill Valley.
Tamalpais High School is the original campus of the Tamalpais Union High School District and the second public high school in Marin County. As of 2007, Tam's attendance area includes the cities of Mill Valley and Sausalito, the nearby unincorporated areas of Marin City, Strawberry and Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, and the West Marin communities of Muir Beach, Bolinas and Stinson Beach. Mill Valley School District is the largest feeder for Tam, followed by the Sausalito Marin City School District and the Bolinas-Stinson Union School District.
- 1 History
- 2 Campus
- 3 Statistics
- 4 Extracurricular activities
- 5 Awards and recognition
- 6 Notable alumni and students
- 7 Notable faculty, coaches, and advisors
- 8 Tam High in popular culture
- 9 Notes
- 10 References
- 11 External links
Tamalpais Union High School District was founded in 1907, to serve students from the Mill Valley Elementary and Sausalito Elementary School Districts who had previously commuted to San Rafael to continue their education. Tamalpais Union High School held its first classes on August 4, 1908, in tent-like structures. The school opened with 70 students, including 40 freshmen, 21 sophomores, five juniors, and four seniors. Ernest E. Wood took the lead in founding the District and was the first principal. By its second year, there were six teachers, 100 students, and 300 volumes in the school library. By 1913–1914 enrollment had increased to 175, with 8 faculty; the library holdings had grown to 650 books plus subscriptions to eight magazines and 2 newspapers. E. E. Wood was principal for 36 years, until 1944.
Known in its early years as Tamalpais Polytechnic High School, Tam was a comprehensive high school from its beginning, with a curriculum that included both academic subjects and technical training. In an interview with the local newspaper the year before he died, Principal Wood said, "I believe the students learned by doing things, I believe in the philosophy of students getting in and doing work and accomplishing things." Architecture students designed the first building and students built several structures on the campus.
- On February 27, 1967, after a year of increased racial tension and disturbances, regular classes were canceled for "Breakthrough Day," a day-long, student initiated teach-in on race relations. All students and faculty met in Mead Theater and then broke into discussion groups around the campus. The event was widely covered by local and national media.
- In 1981, Antenna Theater premiered Chris Hardman's High School at Tam during the fourth Bay Area Playwrights Festival. The work introduced Hardman's performance art concept, "Walkmanology," with Sony Walkmans providing the narration to audience members as they walked the Tam campus observing the story. In 1982, Antenna presented the Pink Prom, at Tam. In this play, unrehearsed student actors wore the Walkmans, which provided their stage direction, while the audience interacted with the actors and each other. Antenna Theater later spun off its Walkmanology concept to Antenna Audio, which has become a leading international producer of audio tours for museums and other attractions.
- In the 1989–1990 school year, members of the student body petitioned to formally remove the school's original mascot "Indians" at the interdiction of Native American activist and Marin County resident Sacheen Littlefeather. The original mascot had been chosen to recognize the indigenous Native American inhabitants, the Miwoks, and was represented by illustrations (both dignified and caricature), costumed performers, and, beginning in the 1960s, a wooden sculpture affectionately named 'Charlie'. Sports teams were identified only as "Tam" for the fall and winter seasons of that school year. A school-wide contest was held and the Red Tailed Hawks was chosen as the winner, beating out other entries such as Mountaineers and Locomotives. The Red Tailed Hawk logo and mascot was adopted beginning in the 1990/1991 school year. Tam High was one of the first American institutions to remove the 'politically incorrect' Native American moniker.
- On May 9, 1990, following the death of history teacher Charles Smith from AIDS, Principal Barbara Galyen announced that students had persuaded the administration to allow the school nurse to distribute free condoms. Tam would have been the first high school in California to dispense prophylactics without parent approval. The plan was very controversial, with objections from some parents and San Francisco Archbishop John R. Quinn calling for it to be rescinded. The following week, after being threatened with a lawsuit by the parents of a student, the District postponed the program indefinitely. In June, Sausalito pharmacist Fred Mayer, originator of "Condom Week" in 1979, announced that he would give free condoms to high school students that summer. Despite the program being deferred, a suit was filed in June. On August 1, the Marin County Superior Court denied the request for an injunction, since the District had not approved the program About 1996, Tam initiated the Condom Availability Program, which provides free condoms to students who have received parental permission and completed a training session.
- In 1997, Tam sophomore Ari Hoffman won a Marin County science fair, showing that fruit flies exposed to different doses of radiation had increased mutation rates and reduced fertility in proportion to the dose. He was subsequently disqualified from the Bay Area Science Fair when officials ruled that his experiment, which resulted in the premature death of 35 of the 200 drosophila, had violated rules on the use of live animals. After widespread news coverage, Hoffman was contacted by Nobel laureate Edward B. Lewis, a geneticist who had begun his own work with fruit flies while in high school. Lewis congratulated Hoffman for his work and sent him a check. The science fair prize was reinstated. (As of 2009, after graduating from Stanford University and completing classwork at the University of California San Francisco Medical School, Hoffman is a predoctoral fellow in bioethics in the Clinical Research Training Program at the intramural campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.)
- Parents of four African-American students from Tam filed a class-action lawsuit against the Novato Unified School District and administrators at San Marin High School over racial slurs made by San Marin students at a basketball game in 1998, charging that a "climate of intolerance" was allowed at San Marin. The Marin County Athletic League put San Marin on probation for a year because of racial insensitivity.
- In 2001, students from Tam and other high schools in the TUHSD formed Marin Students for Liberating Education to discuss the number of prerequisite classes and level of testing. Large numbers of grade 9, 10, and 11 students at Tam and Drake High School boycotted the Stanford-9 achievement tests required by the State's STAR Program after their parents signed waivers. The boycott had been endorsed by school board member Richard Raznikov. Since more than 10% of the students missed the test (22% at Tam and 35% at Drake), the two schools were not given Academic Performance Index (API) rankings, making the schools ineligible for the funds distributed by the State to high-scoring schools. (The three comprehensive high schools in the District, Tam, Drake, and Redwood, received approximately $750,000 in 2000, including individual $1000 scholarships awarded to 339 high-scoring students). Raznikov resigned from the board of trustees in 2002, citing the testing controversy among the reasons.
- Tam was the subject of local controversy during the 2004-2005 school year when several anti-gay crimes, targeting a 17-year-old female student wrestler, received coverage in the Associated Press and the local newspapers. When the police investigation suggested the "crimes" were staged, they confronted the "victim" with the evidence causing the student to confess to the hoax. Subsequent coverage of the hoax received even greater attention in the media and blogosphere.
- On January 4, 2006, the former president of Tam's Associated Student Body, Nima Shaterian, took his own life. A city-wide memorial was held in Mill Valley. In January 2007, junior Clive Barry also committed suicide.
- In May 2006, controversy over use of a rifle in a physics class demonstration received national coverage. Teacher David Lapp, a military veteran and avid hunter, had fired his M1 carbine into a wooden block in his physics classes almost every year since 1992 to allow his students to calcualate the muzzle velocity of the bullet based on conservation of momentum. After an anonymous complaint from a parent, local police and the district attorney investigated, found no illegality and dropped the case. The experiment had been authorized by the school administration, but the school district administration succumbed to an anti-gun agenda and banned the experiment.
- In August 2006, physical education teacher and tennis coach Norm Burgos was arrested and charged with sexual battery against a former member of the boys tennis team. The player had been 16 years old in 2002 or 2003, when the alleged event occurred. Burgos pleaded innocent and has received public support from players and their families. Burgos was charged in July 2008 with similar behavior with two other boys. On October 7, 2008, after Burgos had been on unpaid suspension for two years, the Tamalpais Union High School District board of trustees voted to terminate him, although the criminal charges remain unresolved. As of 2011, Norm Burgos has been acquitted on all charges by Judge Haakenson of the Superior Court of Marin County. He has yet to be reinstated at Tamalpais High School.
- Misbehavior by parents of San Marin High School basketball players on February 2, 2008, in two games with Tam teams led to drafting of the first code-of-conduct contracts for parents of athletes at a Marin County school. Following a girls junior varsity game at Tam, the mother of a San Marin player followed two referees, shouting obscene insults; later, at San Marin, two parents of San Marin players confronted Tam's coach after he made a gesture indicating that the home team had "choked." Novato police were called and the parents were later asked not to attend the remaining games of the season. Tam Principal Chris Holleran said that the coach's behavior was inappropriate, but declined to discuss possible disciplinary action.
- The firings of three non-tenured math teachers in February 2014 sparked bitter divisions between administrators, teachers, students, and parents. Under state law, administrators may dismiss non-tenured teachers without due process and despite several petitions and protests, the TUHSD Board of Trustees voted to uphold the dismissals in a public forum on March 12, 2014. Critics of the firings alleged that they were politically-motivated actions against the Tamalpais Math Department, which had questioned district instructional policies and had not cooperated with administrators' attempts to introduce a controversial and highly costly instructional program.
Tam High Foundation
In 1996, Principal Frank Gold and a group of parents formed the non-profit Tam High Foundation to raise funds for support of the school. The Foundation raised $60,000 its first year, increasing annual funding to $360,000 by 2007-08. Academic grants of up to $10,000 are made to teachers and administrators.
Tam's first 100 years, from 1908 to 2008, were widely recognized in local media. The Tam Centennial Committee, which included the principal, alumni, parents, retired faculty, and others, began meeting in 2006. The centennial celebration began with kickoff events on Homecoming Weekend in September 2007. Multiple events were scheduled for the year, including a Tam Oral History Project, a centennial documentary, and a celebration over the Memorial Day weekend in 2008.
Initially consisting of only a couple of tents on a shore front campus that allowed students to take their boats to school, the Tamalpais campus was fully developed over the years, but has seen its share of wear and tear. Following a 2004 bond measure, the campus underwent renovations to some of its nearly century-old buildings. The oldest building, Wood Hall, reopened in late August 2005.
The 2005-2006 academic year was delayed by five days when unhealthy levels of mold were discovered in the walls of Keyser Hall. The building was closed, and portable classrooms were used instead of Keyser's 17 classrooms. The mold grew due to runoff from the hillside the building was situated on. Keyser Hall was demolished during the summer of 2006; a state-of-the-art replacement structure, also named Keyser Hall, was opened in January 2009. School administrators are consulting with architects about the construction of a handicapped elevator in front of the school's most recognizable building, Wood Hall. Architects unveiled a plan for a four-story elevator tower in front of the school's signature archway, complete with a bridge to take handicapped students into the building. Staff were shocked at the drastic proposal, which would be costly and would have an extensive impact on the many of the campus' most well-known architectural features. An elevator of some sort may be necessary to comply with handicapped accessibility laws. Administrators have formed a committee to look into alternative ways to provide that accessibility.
- 1,321 students: 642 Male (48.6%), 679 Female (51.4%)
|White||Hispanic||Asian||African American||Two or More Races||Filipino||American Indian||Pacific Islander||Not Reported|
|SAT Scores for 2013–2014 |
|Critical Reading Average||Math Average||Writing Average|
|2013 Academic Performance Index|
|2009 Base API ||2013 Growth API ||Growth in the API from 2009 to 2013|
Tam has competed in the Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) since the League was established in 1959. The MCAL is in the Marin-Sonoma-Mendocino Conference, North Coast Section (NCS), of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Prior to the 1959 realignment, Tam was a member of the old North Bay League. In the 1920s, the NBL included Analy High School, Napa High School, Petaluma High School, San Rafael High School, Santa Rosa High School, St. Helena High School, and Vallejo High School. Through the 1940s and early 1950s, Tam played against NBL teams from Healdsburg, Napa, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, and Vallejo; non-league opponenets included Analy and Petaluma. In the 1950s, Drake and Marin Catholic joined the League.
The MCAL offers competition in 21 sports as of 2010[update], including baseball, cross country, football, softball, swimming and diving, track and field, and wrestling. Separate teams for boys and girls compete in basketball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, volleyball, and water polo. The only NCS sport that MCAL does not participate in is badminton.
State and North Coast Section team championships
- Baseball – NCS Champions, 1929, 2014 (Division III); NCS second-place, 1920, 1928, and 2012
- Basketball, Boys – NCS Division IV and State Champions, 2000
- Cross Country, Boys – NCS Division IV Team Champions, 2008
- Cross Country, Girls – NCS Meet of Champions, 1975; NCS Class A Champions, 1977
- Golf, Boys – NCS Co-Champions, 1980
- Soccer, Boys – NCS Champions, 2000, 2012
- Soccer, Girls – NCS Champions, 2008, 2009, 2014
- Track, Boys – NCS Redwood Empire Champions, 2006; Redwood Empire Division III Champions, 1971
- Water Polo, Boys – North Coast Section Champions, 1994
- Softball, Girls - North Coast Section Champions, 2014
Three Tam teams have won NCS Scholastic Championships for the highest team Grade Point Average—the Girls Cross Country Team in 1991, with a GPA of 3.58, the Boys Swimming and Diving Team in 1998, with a 3.49 GPA, and the 2008 Softball team, which took first in the Class 2A Redwood Empire, at 3.46. In Spring 2008, the Boys Golf team took third in the NCS, with a 3.57 GPA.
Five Tam coaches have been recognized as Honor Coaches at the North Coast Section: Bruce Grant (girls track, 1982); Janis Villasenor Wood (girls track, 1985); Beth Juri (boys volleyball, 1997); and Don Smith (softball, 2003). Ed Chavez, long-time basketball coach at Tam, was named Honor Coach while coaching tennis at Branson after retiring from the Tam District.
Tam baseball had what was considered one of the lower teams in the MCAL. In 2009 Tam hired former Redwood High School star pitcher Mike Terry to take over the program. He completely changed the mentality of the program. He instilled a real desire to win in the program. After missing the playoffs in 2009 and 2010 the Hawks made it as the last seed and went out in the first round of the MCAL playoffs. The 2012 season was the best season for Tam baseball in decades. With the freshman from his first year now seniors they had a full understanding of what potential the team had. With Senior pitcher and co-captain Kit Larson starting on the mound with co-captain Mac Huffman (right field) and other leaders such as seniors Harry Spilman (catcher), Seth Gillis (second base), Matt Davis (shortstop), the Hawks compiled a league best 13-5 record (21-9 overall). The team was in a four-way tie for first place. The Hawks however failed to reach the MCAL Finals. The Hawks were the #6 seed in the NCS playoffs. The Hawks faced the MCAL champions in a NCS playoff game and came away with a convincing 10-3 victory. After a come from behind 11-7 victory in the semi-finals against #2 seeded Miramonte, the Hawks were headed to the NCS Division III championship at the Oakland Coliseum. The Hawks would lose 4-0. The 2012 Tamalpais Red Tailed Hawks Varsity baseball team was the best team in decades. Coach Mike Terry was named Tam High coach of the year.
Although Tam has never won a varsity football championship at the section level, which NCS held from 1919 to 1930 and from 1975 to present, the Fall 1966 Tamalpais Indians team set records at the League, State, and national levels. In its second year under coach Willie Hector, 1957 graduate of Tam and former NFL player, the 1966 Indians had a 4–1–1 record in the MCAL and 6-2-1 overall. After sophomore quarterback Donny Mackin broke his wrist in the opening League game, he was replaced by senior Steve Woodward, in his only season playing MCAL football. In his first game as starting quarterback, against Novato High School, Woodward set the League record for passing, at 546 yards (499 m), while split-end Mike Biber set another League record with 15 receptions. Tam's total offense of 821 yards (751 m) in the Novato game set the State record and was the second highest ever recorded in the nation. At the end of the 2013 season, Tam's big day ranked third in California and is tied for ninth in the nation.
On October 20, 2008, the San Francisco 49ers named Tam's varsity football coach Tony Keefer the Charlie Wedemeyer Coach of the Week. Coming off a twelve-game losing streak, Keefer's Hawks had a record through week 6 of 2008 of 5–1, and were undefeated in the MCAL. Tam ended the season 5–5 (4–2 in the MCAL).
Since the current brackets were established in 2008, Tam's varsity football team has competed in Division III and has qualified for NCS playoffs six times with the following results: lost 35–14 to Bishop O'Dowd High School in the first round in 2008; defeated El Cerrito High School 33–13 in their first round in 2009, and lost to Alhambra High School of Martinez in the second round 34–13; lost 40–21 to Encinal High School in the first round in 2011; lost 35–7 to Encinal High School in the first round in 2012; lost 64–8 in the first round in 2013 to the eventual Champion, El Cerrito High School; and lost 50–6 in the first round in 2014 to the eventual runner-up, Marin Catholic High School.
In addition to the NCS championships won by the boys team in 2000 and the girls team in 2008. The boys team won MCALS in 2010, and proceeded to win NCS in 2012, beating 1st seeded Maria Carillo in the championship game. They finished the season with a record of 20-3-3.
The 1999 boys varsity was the MCAL champion, finishing the season 14–0, with the first undefeated season in the team's history. They have recently won MCALS in 2007 and 2011.
On October 23, 2008, the girls tennis team won the 2008 MCAL championship for the first time in nine years, beating Marin Catholic 6–3 in the finals. The team was 16–6 for the season and had beaten Redwood in the semifinals 5–4. On November 15, 2008, Tam was upset by the Marin Catholic Wildcats 5-2 in the NCS Division II finals.
Track and field
Two Tam milers have taken first place in California State Track Meets. In 1936, Simon Scott won in 4:31.2; in 1976, the mile was won by Linda Broderick in 4:56.8.
Anne Campbell, North Coast Section Champion, 2004 and 2005, 2004 State Heavyweight Champion (non-CIF); Kelley Charlton, 2008 North Coast Section Champion, 2009 Northern California Regional Tournament Champion (154 lbs)
Tamalpais High School's Mock Trial team won the 2005 National High School Mock Trial Championship, held in Charlotte, North Carolina. Tam had defeated Redlands East Valley High School of San Bernardino County to win the state championship. In Charlotte, competing against 44 other schools, Tam won all five rounds of the tournament, beating the previously undefeated team from Kauai High School in the finals. The members of the national championship team were Sandra Allen, Mackenzie Amara, Jason Finkelstein, Jessie Kavanagh, Courtney Khademi, Natalie Robinson, Kelly Stout, and Max Wertheimer. Outstanding Performance Awards went to Allen as attorney, and Finkelstein and Stout as witnesses. Marin County defense attorney David M. Vogelstein, coach of the team since 1997, won the Advocate of the Year Award in 2005 from the Constitutional Rights Foundation.
Tam won the State championship again in 2009, and took second place in 1998 and 2007 and third place in 2008. As of 2014[update], the mock trial team has won the Marin County championship 19 years in a row.
On February 7, 2009, Tam won its fourteenth consecutive Marin County Championship, with captains IndiAna Gowland and Frank Alarcon winning as outstanding prosecution attorney. Tam went on to win its second State Championship on March 22, in Riverside, beating the 2007 champions, Elk Grove High School. At State, Junior Ben Harris won the best constitutional advocate award for his role as pre-trial defense lawyer. At the May 2009 National Mock Trial Competition in Atlanta, Georgia, Tam ranked 6th in the nation. Tam extended its streak to 15 Marin County Championships on February 6, 2010, advancing to the California Mock Trial Tournament, held March 19–21 in San Jose. Tam finished in sixth place, with Junior Amanda Weinberg receiving a Special Commendation as Outstanding Prosecution Witness. On February 5, 2011, Tam won its 16th consecutive Marin County mock trail championship. They competed in the California state finals in Riverside on March 25–27, securing a fourth place finish. Sophomore Anna Lipman received a Special Commendation as Outstanding Defense Witness. On February 4, 2012, Tam won its 17th consecutive county title, besting Terra Linda High School—its championship round rival for five years running—by one point. The team will go on to the State Competition in Sacramento on March 23–25. The winning ways continued on February 2, 2013 when Tam High claimed its 18th consecutive Marin County Championship, this time with a victory over a team from Novato High School.
Tam High is the original home of the Conservatory Theatre Ensemble (CTE) (formerly Ensemble Theater Company (ETC)), formed by former student (Tam/Drake Class of 1952) and teacher Dan Caldwell, notable alumni of which include Kathleen Quinlan, Michael Thomsett, Tupac Shakur, Beth Behrs, Bridgit Mendler, and Courtney Thorne-Smith. ETC expanded its presence to include Redwood High School and Drake High School in the mid-1980s. The Daniel Caldwell Performing Arts Center a new facility features a new 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) multi-use theatre building as well as significant upgrades and renovations to Ruby Scott Auditorium. The Center was completed in 2006. (ETC was renamed the Conservatory Theatre Ensemble (CTE).)
In 2000 the Tam News received a license from the Treasury Department to travel to Havana, Cuba and produced their first color magazine issue. The following year, 2001, musicians, artists, and dancers from the school visited Havana's art high schools and spent time creating art together with the Cuban students. In April 2010, students participating in the trip to France and the CTE trip to London were stranded for six days due to the travel disruptions caused by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano, Eyjafjallajökull. All students and staff returned to the United States safely and without incident.
The school's newspaper, the Tamalpais News has won awards from the National Scholastic Press Association and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. News staff won individual awards for Story of the Year from the NSPA in 1998 (2nd for features); 2009 (3rd Diversity); 2011 (5th News Story); 2013 (2nd Feature, 4th Diversity); and 2014 (1st Editorial/Opinion, 2nd Feature). The 2014 First Place was awarded to the Staff for “All Quiet on the District Front;” the Second Place was won by Isaac Cohen for “Undocumented: Navigating Life Without Citizenship.” The paper introduced a website in 2006, tamnews.org, which was a finalist for the NSPA Online Pacemaker in 2007 and 2014.
In 2006, for the first time since the award was established in 1983, CSPA presented the News one of 37 Silver Crown Awards. Tam News staff won ten individual and staff Gold Circle Awards and Certificates of Merit from the CSPA in 2001, with 17 total since 1984. In 2014, CPSA recognized four members of the News, with Cassie Jeong winning two awards for Hand-drawn Art/Illustration: 1st place for “Startup Weekend Adventures” and 3rd for “Zine Fest.” The Staff received the 3rd-place award in Editorial writing for “All Quiet on the District Front;” Isaac Cohen received a Certificate of Merit in the In-depth news/feature story category for “Undocumented.” Previous Gold Circle Award winners follow:
- 1997 Single Spot News Photograph (Tabloid), 2nd, Shannon McGuire, "Mill Valley fire fighters..."
- 2000 Entertainment Review, 2nd, Noah Flower, "Powerful novel reveals African experience"
- 2001 Feature Photo (Single), 2nd, Sarah Wagner, "Bring Elian Home-Salremos A Alian"
- Overall Design, 2nd, Sarah Wagner, Noah Flower, And the staff, "Tam News From Havana"
- Title & Content Page, 2nd, Noah Flower, Sarah Wagner, "Inside"
- Personality Profile, 3rd, Melissa Simon, "Into The Unknown"
The News has experimented with different formats, including a news magazine called THAT Magazine from 2003 to 2005. The staff adviser since 2006, Jonah Steinhart, was a partner in two Silicon Valley startups and was Editor-in-Chief of the Campanile when he was at Palo Alto High School.
The yearbook was called The Tamalpais Graduate in early years. Later it became The PAI.
Awards and recognition
Tamalpais High School was a recipient of the California Distinguished School Award in 1999, 2005, and 2009. The school has been ranked in the top five percent of American high schools since 2005, based on a system devised by Dave Matthews of the Washington Post and reported by Newsweek. Tam ranked the highest of all Marin County high schools each year, at 428 in 2005, 425 in 2006, 410 in 2007, and 979 in 2008.
Notable alumni and students
As part of its celebration of its 144th year, the San Francisco Chronicle ran a series in June 2009 listing 144 famous Bay Area high school alumni in a "roll call of fame." Tam alumni listed were Tupac Shakur, George Duke, Pat Paulsen, William L. Patterson, John Cipollina, and Courtney Thorne-Smith. Coverage of Tam's centennial in 2008 included several lists of famous alumni in local newspapers. The Marinscope Newspapers ran a story that began with a list of some of the best known, including Eve Arden, Sam Chapman, Matt Hazeltine, Rob Nilsson, Bill Champlin, Kathleen Quinlan, and Romeo Bandison. The article included short biographical sketches of eight lesser well-known Tam alumni "who made a difference": civil rights leader William Patterson (class of 1911); Sutro Librarian Emeritus Richard H. Dillon (1941); jazz pianist George Duke (1963); mountain biking pioneer Joe Breeze (1972); mathematician Peter Shor (1977); Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Martha Mendoza (1983); musician and peace activist Snatam Kaur (1990); and NASA engineer Evan Thomas (2001).
The people listed here graduated from or attended Tam. The year shown is the year of graduation for the class that they entered with, unless they are known to have graduated with or identify with a different class.
- William L. Patterson 1911 – attorney; civil rights pioneer
- Roger Kent c. 1923 – attorney; general counsel, U.S. Department of Defense, 1952–1953; Democratic Party campaign manager and State chair
- Eve Arden (Eunice Quedens) 1926* – actress (Our Miss Brooks, Grease, Grease 2).
- Antonio "Tony" Freitas c. 1926 – pitcher MLB, Philadelphia Athletics & Cincinnati Reds)
- Sam Chapman 1934‡ – athlete (high school & college all star, California Golden Bears; Philadelphia Athletics & Cleveland Indians)
- Art Schallock 1943 – MLB pitcher: Yankees (1953 World Series), Orioles
- Pat Paulsen 1945† – statesman; comic (Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour)
- Joe DeMaestri 1946‡ – MLB shortstop: A's, St. Louis Browns, Chicago White Sox, Yankees, 1957 All Star, 1960 World Series
- Anton Szandor LaVey (Howard Stanton Levey) ~1947 – founder of the Church of Satan
- Karl Olson 1948* – MLB outfielder: Red Sox, Senators, Tigers
- Glen Robinson 1950‡ – 1st bl ack U.S. Marshal to head California office and served for 40 years on Marin County Board of Education.
- Matt Hazeltine 1951† – athlete (linebacker, NFL San Francisco 49ers, 1963 & 1965 Pro Bowls)
- Dan Caldwell 1952‡ – actor; drama teacher (Daniel Caldwell Performing Arts Center opened in 2006 at Tam High)
- Pete Gross 1954* – radio sports announcer; "Voice of the Seahawks"
- John L. Wasserman 1955† – entertainment critic and columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle from 1964 until his death in 1979; he referred to "the Frats and the Hoods" at Tam in his review of Grease (Film)
- Rob Nilsson 1957‡ – actor & director, 9 @ Night Films (On the Edge; first American director to win both the Prix de la Caméra d'Or (Best First Film) at Cannes (for Northern Lights in 1979) and the Grand Jury Prize-Dramatic at the Sundance Film Festival (in 1988 for Heat and Sunlight))
- Elmer Collett 1962‡ – athlete (lineman, NFL San Francisco 49ers, Baltimore Colts)
- George Duke 1963 – jazz pianist
- Charlie Kelly 1963‡ – roadie (Sons of Champlin); Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
- John Cipollina 1964* – musician (Quicksilver Messenger Service)
- Bill Champlin 1965* – musician (The Opposite Six, Sons of Champlin, Chicago)
- Honor Jackson 1966‡ – athlete (University of the Pacific, NFL)
- Michael Thomsett 1966* - author of over 80 books
- Charlie Cunningham 1967* – mountain bike pioneer (Mountain Bike Hall of Fame first year inductee, 1988)
- Michael Goldberg 1971‡ – music journalist, Rolling Stone, founded Addicted to Noise online magazine and Neumu.net
- Joe Breeze 1972‡ – mountain bike inventor (Mountain Bike Hall of Fame 1988, founder of Breezer Bikes)
- Mario Cipollina 1972* – musician (Copperhead, Soundhole, Huey Lewis and the News, Terry and the Pirates)
- Kathleen Quinlan 1972‡ – actress (American Graffiti, Apollo 13, Oliver Stone's The Doors, Breach)
- Cassandra Webb (Cassandra Politzer) 1976‡ - actress (Starship, Sons and Daughters)
- Merritt Butrick 1977* – actor (Square Pegs; James T. Kirk's son, David Marcus (Star Trek))
- Peter Shor 1977‡ – mathematician, MIT; MacArthur Fellow
- Signy Coleman 1978‡ – model, actress (The Young and the Restless, Guiding Light)
- Ann Killion 1979 - award-winning sports writer and New York Times best-selling author; currently a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
- Bryan Price 1980‡ – pitcher drafted by (California Angels), MLB pitching coach (Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks), manager Cincinnati Reds}
- Adam Steltzner 1981‡ – NASA engineer at JPL; phase lead and development manager for EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) of the Curiosity rover lander, which successfully landed on Mars on August 5, 2012
- Montgomery McFate 1984 – anthropologist, defense analyst
- Cintra Wilson 1984 – writer
- Courtney Thorne-Smith 1985* – actress (Melrose Place, Ally McBeal, According to Jim)
- Chris Chaney 1988* – musician (Jane's Addiction, The Panic Channel)
- Romeo Bandison 1989* – NFL (Cleveland Browns; Washington Redskins); NCAA football coach (Colorado Buffaloes)
- Tupac Shakur 1989† – rapper, actor
- Snatam Kaur c. 1990 – musician
- Nyjer Morgan c. 1997 - MLB outfielder (Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers)
- Sarah Austin (journalist) 2004 - Manhattan-based Internet personality, founder of Pop17
- Beth Behrs 2004 - actress (2 Broke Girls, American Pie Presents: The Book of Love)
* Alumni listed in the 2002 Alumni Directory, address unconfirmed
† Alumni listed as "reported deceased" in the 2002 Alumni Directory
‡ Alumni listed in the Biographical Section of the 2002 Alumni Directory
Notable faculty, coaches, and advisors
- Ernest E. Wood, founder and first principal; served from 1908 to 1944; he also originated the proposal for Marin Junior College (now College of Marin); he died in 1955
- Roy "Wrongway" Riegels coached the Tamalpais High School football team in 1934 and recruited Sam Chapman to play for UC Berkeley.
- Dan Caldwell, Drama; Founder, Ensemble Theatre Company
- Robert Greenwood, Music; jazz musician; California Music Education Association Hall of Fame Award, 2004 (students include George Duke, Sita Dimitroff, Bill Champlin, Ben "King" Perkoff)
- Dave Meggyesy, former NFL linebacker and author of Out of Their League, was the head football coach in 1981 while teaching part-time at Stanford
- Paul Schwarzbart, former French Teacher, Holocaust survivor and author of "Breaking The Silence: Reminiscences of a Hidden Child" about being hidden in the Ardennes by the Jewish underground at the Home Reine Elizabeth, a Catholic boys' school.
- David M. Vogelstein, private defense attorney and volunteer coach of the Tamalpais High School Mock Trial team since 1997; received the Mock Trial Advocate of the Year Award from the Constitutional Rights Foundation
Tam High in popular culture
- Several students and faculty had credited and cameo parts in the 1968 Steve McQueen film Bullitt.
- The Tamalpais Marching Band appeared in the 1969 Woody Allen film Take The Money and Run, while Tam teachers Dan Caldwell and Don Michaelian had small roles as a prison guard and a prisoner.
- Since the late 1960s, the school hosted many live concerts during lunch breaks, after school and on Saturday nights, with performances by local bands such as The Stanley Jackson Trio, Clover, Soundhole, Michael Bloomfield, Cold Blood, Pablo Cruise, and Jefferson Starship.
- David Crosby's song, "Tamalpais High (At About 3)," refers to when Tam classes end for the day, and was conceived while the musician passed the school on the way to recording sessions in neighboring Sausalito, reportedly at The Plant Studios. It was recorded in February 1971 (though The Plant Studios is said to have opened in 1972). David Crosby — guitar, vocals; Jerry Garcia — guitar; Jorma Kaukonen — guitar; Phil Lesh — bass; Bill Kreutzmann — drums.
- 'Sock hop' dance in the 1973 movie American Graffiti was filmed in the Boys (now Gustafson) Gymnasium. Tam graduate Kathleen Quinlan appears in dance and bathroom scenes, as was current Tam High French teacher Brian Zailian (then a 15-year-old Redwood High student), who is dancing in the crowd.
- Don Michaelian, fine art teacher and department chair, appears in the 1973 Clint Eastwood film Magnum Force in the pool shootout scene with Suzanne Somers.
- Stan Ritchie, biology teacher at Tam High in the 1960s and 1970s, had a part in the 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, as a spa patron taking a mud bath.
- Tam makes a cameo appearance as the wall in the background on the cover of the 1986 album Fore! by Huey Lewis and the News.
- A Time For Dancing, (Davida Wills Hurwin, 1995, Little Brown & Co, ISBN 0-316-38351-1) is set partly in Mill Valley and at Tam, which Julianna and Samantha, the main characters, attend; the movie based on the book was shot in 2000, with limited distribution in Europe, and was released in the United States in 2004
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- Although the hawk selected as mascot is most commonly referred to as the Red-tailed Hawk or red-tailed hawk, with a hyphen, the mascot is styled as Red Tailed Hawk, using three capitalized words with no hyphen, by both the student newspaper and the alumni association.
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